Sunday, June 27, 2010

Target policies on Kindle price-reduction and 30-day Return

Here's a report at Teleread, written to me there, about confusion at Target over whether a price-change credit should be given on a Kindle purchased there only a week ago and whether or not it was returnable within 30 days (as is always the case with a Kindle purchase at Amazon, for any reason as long as it is in good shape and the original box is used for the return).  The writer reporting his experience at Teleread (a great site to read about the ebook world) said that he was told, at first, that returns were accepted only for defective items.

This is a bit tricky as Target would have to get that money back from Amazon, but that should be arranged between the two companies.  If for any reason, the price-change credit or a Kindle return within 30 days are not officially supported, then Amazon and Target would have to be clear about that.  At the end of this story, these policies finally were accepted at that particular store.

Here is the report:
' June 26th, 2010 at 9:47 pm

After talking to a Target national store person & two different answers from clerks at the local Target I finally got a price reduction on my Kindle. It only took talking to the store manager.

I talked to the national rep on Wednesday. She gave me some correct information but also some incorrect. My wife then stopped & talked with a Target clerk on Thursday night who gave her what turned out to be the correct information on how to get the price reduction or how to return the Kindle for a refund if necessary.

I went in Friday night then to see about getting the reduction & ran into a stone wall masquerading as a store clerk who told me in no uncertain terms I could neither get a price break or return my Kindle unless it was defective. And I couldn’t even do that unless I had the store receipt. Being slightly ticked & needing to get to an anniversary party, I left the store & told the girl I’d never shop at that Target again.

My wife called the store manager while I was at the party & finally got the correct information & found him quite eager to help me out. So, I went back in two hours later, asked for the store manager, & he straightened everything out. Even though technically under Target rules he didn’t need to give me a price reduction or need to let me return the device since it wasn’t defective. He also said I didn’t need a store receipt as long as I had the box the Kindle came in & the credit card I used to purchase it.

So, that’s my saga of how I finally got the price reduction on the Kindle. My advice would be to only purchase the Kindle through Amazon or else be prepared to find a sympathetic Target manager. '

I'll try to get a comment from Amazon about policy here, even if Target's staff in this case probably did get some clarification from Amazon and we know that this Target store eventually agreed to honor Amazon's price-reduction policy.

 What's troubling is that they added that technically under Target's rules they did not need to give him a price reduction or accept a return of a Kindle within Amazon's 30-day any-reason return-policy period unless it is defective.
UPDATE - revgeorge, the writer of the report, clarified today in the comments area that it was his own assumption that Target didn't have to do any of this and that the store manager appeared to have gone out of his way to take care of the situation after the store clerk was not helpful.  I would not want it to depend on an especially helpful store manager, so I hope for clarification of policy or no more reports that Amazon Kindle owners are being denied the price-change credit/refund.
  What needs clarification is whether a Kindle bought at Target can be returnable within 30-days or whether this Amazon return-policy doesn't apply to Target.

In the meantime, PCMag reports that "A Target spokeswoman confirmed that the Kindle will also be available at Target for $189."

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  1. I bought my Kindle at Target the day before Amazon dropped the price. I called the Target store the next two days checking to see if they had dropped the price. The second day they had, so I took my receipt in and got the difference back under Target's (not Amazon's) price reduction policy. I was in & out within 2 minutes.

  2. This seems like an important question which Amazon and Target have to answer clearly in no uncertain terms. The Kindle carries the Amazon brand regardless of where it's being sold. I don't see how Target (or any retailer) can have any hope of making this a good line of business if they can't offer the same 30 day price guarantee Amazon consistently offers. Now I can see a difference in the return policy as being fair. After all, when a new buyer orders a Kindle from Amazon they may have never had an opportunity to even handle the device. And a 30 day no questions asked return policy makes sense for Amazon in that it allays fears in potential buyers who may be nervous plunking down a big chunk of change on something they've only seen pictures of. But things are different at Target where a customer can actually see and handle the device before buying.

  3. Anonymous,
    Really good to read about the easy experience you had with this at your store.

    That's a very good point about the reason for the Amazon 30-day return policy. It's also that they're very secure about this.
    I am ever pleased with how direct so many of the controls are vs other e-readers. And it takes time to see what it can and can't do.

    But under regular store policies, your points do make sense. I hope they do make this clearer, and maybe Target just getting the word out to its own staff will help.

  4. Andrys, I probably should clarify that it was my assumption that Target did not technically have to give me a refund or accept a return of the Kindle unless it was defective. I don't think the store manager actually said that though. I've probably got a few things mixed up because of all the conflicting responses I'd gotten from Target up to that point.

    The main thrust I would take away from this is that whatever their store policies the manager was going to go out of his way to please a customer. Especially since I had made a habit of making large purchases there. I bought my wife's Sony 505 at that particular store & also then bought my Kindle there.

    Sorry about some of the confusion. I think the primary points that caused confusion were the fact that I bought my Kindle more than 7 days before Amazon announced the price reduction. Sure, I bought mine 8 days before that but somehow that played into Target's policies. Then was some talk about how the price reduction had to be in the next week's ad as well, which of course it couldn't have been because Amazon made the announcement after the Target ad for this past week had been printed.

    Anyway, my experience only speaks to the Target store I had dealings with, & in the end the manager made everything cool.

  5. revgeorge,
    Thanks for clarifying that about the assumption being yours that Target wasn't obligated to go by Amazon's own rules.

    Am glad the store manager (as opposed to the store clerk who gave you a problem) was eager to help -- but I don't want to think he was going "out of his way" to do that, as there has to be a real policy on how Target meshes with Amazon on this.

    They have a contract to sell the Kindle and the terms are important to customers and should be consistently applied.

    The thing is that Amazon has a 30-day return policy, and normally Target has a 90-day one for returns, apparently the latter for defective units.

    Re your last paragraph, we really don't want to depend on one store manager who's perceived as nice and going beyond needs to be the defining feature. It's too much, as you said, then dependent on the manager.

    So your initial points are still important. Obviously you had a good store manager; now, if he goes on to train the store clerk on this kind of thing, even better :-)

    Thanks for writing more on this.

  6. revgeorge,
    I forgot to say that I loved this image:

    "...ran into a stone wall masquerading as a store clerk"

  7. I was able to return my Kindle to Target before buying a reduced-price Kindle with no issues.

  8. Anonymous,
    Thanks for that addition. I'm curious why you returned your Kindle instead of just getting a refund. It did have issues?

  9. Sorry I couldn't provide more details on Target's store policies. After all the rigmarole I was just happy to get a refund & also keep my Kindle. :)

    I'll have to start following your site more often. I really like the Kindle once I was able to get my hands on one & play around with it. There's a few things I still prefer about my Sony, but the Kindle definitely is my device of choice right now.

  10. I'm not the original Anonymous, but if you are out of their 7 day price adjustment time you can get around it by returning the item for a full refund and then buying a new one at the new price. A bit of a pain with the Kindle since you would have to reload your books, but worth it for this big of a price drop.

  11. revgeorge,
    You let us know that getting the price-change via Target wasn't painless for you :-) As for the Kindle, it's strange how it doesn't lose its newness, for me, and it's just a real pleasure to use.

    The not-original Anonymous!
    That's good info as well. Thanks for taking the time to let us know. Worth the hassle, yes.

  12. I am super frustrated with Target and this will affect my decision to purchase large electronic devices from them in the future. I bought a Kindle Fire on Saturday. The sign next to the register says that electronics will be accepted with receipt for a return before 45 days. Cashier said nothing about returns. After I got it home, I was not totally enthused with it. I had played with it in the store but some of the apps that I downloaded were a little underwhelming and relied on wifi to work. That being said, I thought that I would be able to at least get a credit in electronics. But they flat out denied me. This was Tuesday (after the purchase on Saturday). I had everything, even the box. I am so annoyed! I do plan on catching a manager on duty another time to see what sort of answer I get.

  13. I had a similar experience with a gifted Kindle touch. After being refused in the store, Talked to headquarters customer service and "they are standing behind the stores policy...if its openen no refund or return, even when returned within a week of purchase.

  14. Anonymous's (it would help if people used at least first names when writing about stores not coming through for them) --

    Anonymous1: When do you plan to catch the Target manager on duty? Actually, there is always one on duty. I'd like to know what happens when you do.

    Anonymous 2: You talked with "headquarters" customer service? How did you get them? Kindle customer service phone reps seem to be from almost anywhere on the globe, depending on when you call and where you're hooked up.

    Call again. And ask to talk to a 2nd tier representative or supervisor. If a store doesn't have a decent policy, Amazon has tended strongly to stand by their own policy within the 30 days (say, once a 14-day one ends, as at Staples, etc.)

    Hope it's resolved sooner than later.

  15. Andrys, guess I'm anon 2. I talked to target headquarters customer service using the 800 number. The Target store was in Ft Dodge, Iowa. I will give Amazon a try using email contact site. Thanks for info.

  16. Connie,
    I'm interested in hearing how it goes with Target. Target has certain policies but supposedly must keep up with Amazon's policies too and some of the managers last year weren't up with that at first.


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